For many, unschooling is a difficult and revolutionary concept, and it’s understandably intimidating for those who are new to the idea. Despite being misunderstood for its uniqueness in the fact that there are often no set educational goals that are enforced, successful unschooling can be accomplished through the use of many different technologies and applications rather than relying on one set curriculum.
Check out this article covering Unschooling Vs Homeschooling to see the major differences between the more “radical” method of home education and the more traditional homeschooling method you may be accustomed to.
The term “curriculum” is a pretty broad topic in this sense; It can refer to a lesson plan based on work and interaction that mimics a traditional school schedule, or even a loose series of daily or weekly lessons that are derived from the kids’ individual interests. As a teacher and parent of unschooled kids, I use a combination of both of these approaches daily depending on the child, their attitude, and how much they want to get accomplished.
If you have been questioning the legitimacy of Unschooling, or maybe even want to implement the ideology into your homeschooling lifestyle, allow me to clear the air a little by shedding some light on the often controversial topic of Getting Started with Unschooling.
There are some disadvantages with unschooling, so perform your due diligence and make sure every move you make is the best one for your family. I cover a few reasons Unschooling wont work for everyone that you should check out if you are having any doubts about unschooling.
Hey there, my name is Jerromy and I am all about that homeschooling life!
I was homeschooled on a farm and I do my best to apply the same values I was brought up with as I teach my own children at home to this very day.
My main goal is to help other homeschooling parents make educated decisions about their kids’ schooling by providing resources and information to help them avoid the mistakes I have made on my journey homeschooling my kids.
If you are new to homeschooling, check out my article on how to get started the easy way.
Affiliate Disclosure: This site DOES contain affiliate links throughout. All this means is if you follow a link on any of my pages and make a purchase, I could receive a commission or referral reward, all at no extra cost to you!
If you want to learn how to get started making money online while homeschooling, click the image below!
What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is the process of raising children through the use of a set of unstructured materials and methods. Ideally, it is a flexible way to homeschool that allows kids to learn in different ways at different ages depending entirely on your students’ specific level of knowledge and their interests.
Rather than making a child stick to a set schedule in life, most unschoolers have a more “free reign” approach to parenting and have various levels of rules for their children, depending heavily on the families beliefs and in some cases, the temperaments of their children will call for a more strict, or lenient, set of rules to adhere to.
This applies to education as well as daily life, and that is one of the biggest benefits in my mind. Not forcing children to obey and act simply because they are told to, but allowing them to experience life first-hand and learn their own way creates strong-minded and iron-willed adults who see things for what they are and aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe to be right.
It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows though, I can assure you. However, there are many more benefits than there are disadvantages to Unschooling your children.
If you are thinking that Unschooling might not be for you, there are many ways to go about homeschooling, so check out this article and see if you cant Discover your own method of Homeschooling!
Pros and Cons of Unschooling
There are no 100% right answers to educating your children, from home or otherwise, and knowing where the faults with a certain method of home education lie will help you further determine where you stand with the idea of unschooling.
- Lack of social interaction in some cases
- Can result in poor academic skills later in life if left unchecked
- MIght cost a little bit more than other styles of homeschooling if you intend on using multiple formats and programs to educate your children
- Can take a little getting used to, for parents as well as students.
- Lacks structure that some families may want for their children
- Family members will likely give you grief for the decision
- Gives children an opportunity to contribute to their own education and future
- Can be adjusted to fit any lifestyle
- Doesn’t require as much hands-on time for parents unless they choose to be more involved
- Children can learn to self-start and get goals accomplished with little to no help; CONFIDENCE!
- Doesn’t leave hefty requirements or responsibilities hanging over your children’s heads
- Gives parent-teachers a great opportunity to spend more time with their children before they grow up
- Can open up career opportunities early on through a STEM-based unschooling lesson plan
- Kids have more opportunities to be kids!
How to start Unschooling Effectively
The hardest part of unschooling is having to “let go” and let your kids do more of what they want on a daily basis; at least this was the most difficult for me. While your children will still need you, and more importantly your direction in life, they need to feel like they can make decisions for themselves even if they may not be the best for the situation. This lets them experience consequences in a more controlled environment and helps them build confidence in their abilities well before they are adults when that self-esteem will be necessary for their success in life.
Just make sure they are learning something new every day, and let them decide on how much time they want to invest into learning more about that topic. When they start to reveal their interests, you can hyper-focus their lesson plan to include more of what they love and do well with, and commit things that aren’t constructive to their development and may create issues with confidence and motivation.
You don’t have to be 100% relaxed either, and just because the kids are more in charge of their education, doesn’t mean they can just skip out on learning. The main idea is to let them choose what they learn, but to make sure they are actually learning it; this could be more about gardening, construction, biology, computer science, or whatever their interests are! Just make sure they are working towards a brighter future, and you will be on your path to Successful Unschooling!
Putting Together an Unschooling Curriculum or Lesson Plan
This is the question that leads to the most controversy, and a lot of resources will tell you that there is no such thing as an “Unschooling Curriculum”, but I couldn’t disagree more!
This is where the parent’s creativity and due diligence come into play, as you will be in charge of providing all the resources and options that they will be able to choose from. The idea is to seek out different curricula and educational resources and pick and choose what aspects and information your students will be receiving from those resources if you don’t intend to use them in their entirety that is.
My suggestion is to find one resource that will be the epicenter of their education and act as their primary curriculum. After that is established, you can add different applications, websites, or even another curriculum or two and remove anything they don’t respond well to in order to keep their education plan and learning materials in line with the core of unschooling; your children’s interests!
Try to have a set block of time for schooling, and if your children are insomniacs like mine, just set a daily time requirement for learning activities that they should do their best to fulfill each day.
For older students ( 5th grade and up) I would shoot for at least 4 – 5 hours of studying, and for everyone younger than that 2 – 4 hours of school a day is plenty and everyone will be more motivated to get their schooling started if they know it isn’t going to take them all day to complete assignments, and they only have to engage with learning materials that they choose for a short amount of time each day!
You may even notice them going above and beyond these requirements, simply because they are actually interested in what they are learning!
Definitely try to work in the core subjects like math, language arts, science, and social skills as long as the content you are teaching from aligns with your personal thoughts and beliefs that is!
You can easily start unschooling today!
In conclusion, unschooled children get to determine the flow of their learning and the pace at which everything happens with direction and assistance from their parent-teachers. It’s a great way to provide a child with a personalized learning experience while still having time to focus on the many day-to-day happenings as a stay-at-home parent
I recommend starting with a healthier (in every way) approach to unschooling and trying to implement the concepts one at a time, until everyone is aware of their roles in this tradition breaking process.
Keep in mind that Unschooling will not be the right choice for everyone, but if it is something that interests you, it is so simple that you could begin today!
There are a lot of resources out there to get started unschooling effectively, but make sure you find something that fits your lifestyle and your children’s learning styles before making any bug purchases
Whatever your requirements, there is an option for you, and if you need help finding the absolute best option for your family feel free to reach out to me through one of my posts and I will get back to you ASAP!